WITTON Albion beat off opposition from Conference clubs to sign Crewe Alex midfielder Rob Lloyd permanently on Friday.
And he responded with a hat-trick the following day.
Albion boss Jim Vince also signed Leek Town striker Dorrell Proffitt.
But it is the acquisition of Lloyd, who was on the very edge of Crewe's Championship starting line-up last season, which raises Albion's profile in the UniBond League title race.
On loan for much of the season at Albion, Lloyd was outstanding in the 5-2 thrashing of promotion rivals Marine, playing as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
Vince said: 'Perhaps it had. His chances at Crewe were limited and he's had that on his mind for some time. He spoke to Dario (Gradi) who agreed his release and I signed him straight away, despite offers from other clubs.
'He seemed to be playing for fun and with a team who have become his mates.' Albion are now the UniBond League's top scorers and have hit 16 goals in three games. Moreover, the broad consensus is they are playing the best football since they won the UniBond championship in 1991.
Former England youth international Proffitt has not been a success at Leek.
But Vince says: 'He brings ability and speed and maybe the pitch and Leek did not suit his style of play. He'll do well for us. I hope it's a shrewd signing.'
Proffitt made a brief appearance against Marine and won a penalty for Lloyd to convert.
Ross Clegg also made his bow from the sub's bench since returning to Witton.
All three will expect to play a part when Witton entertain Marine again - this time in the UniBond League Cup quarter-finals - on Saturday.
The tie will be played to a conclusion, but will that be similar to the League clash?
Vince said: 'They are still above us in the league and a high quality side. We still have to get our preparation right.
'The real stars on Saturday were the fans. In those conditions many would have gone home, but their support was fantastic.
'People are thanking me for the way we are playing, but I and the team want to thank the spectators.'